What You Should Know About Ingrown Toenails

 

An ingrown toenail, also known as onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates, is a painful and uncomfortable condition of the toe. This occurs when a toenail penetrates the flesh of the toe instead of lying flat. When not treated promptly, it can be extremely painful. Severe cases of an ingrown toenail may cause toe to bleed and pus to ooze out.

 

The most common affected toe is the big toe, but other toes can be affected as well.

 

Causes and Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are relatively common. This foot condition can be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit properly; excessive sweating of the feet, improperly trimmed nails, obesity or trauma to the foot.

 

There are some cases wherein ingrown toenails can be linked to genetics. The way a person stands or walks, or the likelihood that he will have a foot deformity such as bunions or hammertoes are inherited.

 

People who are active are particularly at risk because they tend to sweat more than people who are not involved in sports. When a person does not practice proper foot care such as changing shoes regularly, it keeps the skin moist, making the nail able to penetrate it easily. Women may also be prone to getting ingrown toenails since they tend to cut their nails too short.

 

Along with pain, patients suffering from ingrown toenails may also experience difficulty walking.

 

How an Ingrown Toenail Can Affect Your Feet

Change in Gait. Once you begin having difficulties with a painful ingrown toenail, you will notice changes in the way you walk and stand. Because of the pain, you will start to shift your weight unconsciously and balance in such a way that would put less pressure on the affected toe. If your ingrown toenail is not treated promptly, you will have a shift in your normal gait and can lead to foot issues later on.

 

Cause an Infection. It is important to keep an eye on an ingrown toenail as you can experience bleeding and/or a discharge. Once the imbedded nail becomes infected and you fail to have it treated promptly, the infection can spread to the rest of your foot. You might need antibiotics to treat the infection and a podiatrist such as Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM will need to remove the spike from the fleshy part of your affected toe.

 

If you have an ingrown toenail or any other foot concern, contact Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM, our podiatrist.